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Court winds up Badeh’s company, terminates charges against late CDS
FOLLOWING the death of the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Alex Badeh, the federal high court in Abuja has terminated the corruption charges against him while ordering that his company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, be wound up and all its assets forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria.
Justice Okon Abang gave the ruling on Monday following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Badeh, who was the Chief of Air Staff before he was appointed CDS, was standing trial, alongside his company, for allegedly converting billions of funds belonging to the Nigeria Air Force to personal use. The ex-defence chief was, however, murdered by unknown gunmen late last year as he was returning to Abuja from his farm in Nasarawa State.
According to the prosecution counsel, O A. Atolagbe, the business of the day would have been the hearing of the defence of the second defendant (Iyalikam Nig Ltd), since the first defendant is now late.
However, Atolagbe told the court that the second defendant and the prosecution have met and they have been able to reach a plea bargain agreement and have filed same in court in accordance to relevant sections of the administration of Criminal Justice Act. He also said that the charges against the defendants had been amended and filed in court accordingly.
Atolagbe urged the court to allow the amended charges to be read to the second defendant to enable it to enter a plea. Counsels to the first and second defendants − Akin Olujimi and Samuel Ologunorisa respectively − did not object to the application of the prosecution.
The amended charges were read to the second defendant who pleaded guilty in accordance with the plea bargain arrangement hitherto agreed upon.
“In view of the plea of guilty entered by the court, I urge my lord to enter judgement based on the content of plea bargain agreement for the avoidance of doubt,” Atolagbe was quoted by Premium Times as urging the trial judge.
“I particularly urge my lord to order as part of the sentence the final forfeiture of all the properties affected by count 1 to 10 in the further amended charge, the defendant convicted and wound up based on the plea bargain agreement and section 19 of the money laundering Act.”
Delivering his ruling, Justice Abang said: “Having regard to the plea bargain and plea duly taken, I hereby find the defendant Iyalikam Nigeria limited guilty. The defendant is hereby wound up and this judgement shall be served on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for necessary action.
“All properties in line with the 10-count charge are hereby forfeited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“In view of the fact that the first defendant in the original charge is reported dead, all charges against the first defendant are hereby terminated.”
Badeh was first arrested in 2016 and was charged to court for crimes bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.97 billion. He was briefly detained in Kuje Prison in the Federal Capital Territory before he was granted bail.
Some of his properties which had been confiscated in the course of investigations were converted by the federal government to serve other government purposes.